Islands Controversy Haunts 6th Anniversary of Egypt's Revolution

By Tom Dinham

Tom Dinham is an analyst and writer specialising in political and security issues in the MENA region. He began his journalistic career covering the Arab Spring in 2011, moving from Damascus to Cairo and on to Libya, filing for the BBC Radio 4 programme From Our Own Correspondent. Since then, he has reported extensively from the region, writing opinion and analysis for the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Egypt Independent and Georgetown University's Global Security Studies Review. He has also written in Arabic for the Egyptian press and reported from Europe as London Correspondent for The Arab Weekly newspaper.

Six years after Egyptians rose up against the political authoritarianism and economic incompetence of the Mubarak regime, the potential transfer of two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia serves as a bitter reminder that, since the heady days of 2011, things have only gotten worse.

Since Egyptians woke up on 8 April 2016 to the news that their government had signed a demarcation agreement unilaterally ceding part of its maritime territory to Saudi Arabia, the legality of the transfer has become a lightning rod for dissent and a symbol of the increasingly authoritarian and unaccountable rule of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Just days before the sixth anniversary of Egypt’s January 25th revolution, Egypt’s High Administrative Court unanimously and unequivocally ruled the demarcation agreement null and void. The government is now faced with either an embarrassing climb-down or a bruising confrontation with both popular opinion and its own judiciary. At a time when Egyptians reflect on the aftermath of the Arab Spring, their government should heed the warning of history and back down.

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.


Categorized as:InternationalTagged with:

Related Articles

How Safe Would We Be Without Section 702?

SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW — A provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that has generated controversy around fears of the potential for abuse has proven to be crucial […] More